"I have been writing songs even before I became a journalist. I wanted to be many things in life - I wanted to be a songwriter, an author, an actor and what not.
"I started writing during my college days and sent my songs to ghazal legend Jagjit Singh, but he didn't respond. After a few years I met Mahesh Bhatt and he liked my songs and that's how I got into this business," Neelesh said.
Neelesh, who also penned songs for the films "Krishna Cottage" and "Rog", is a small town boy who strongly feels that actual romance blooms in small towns.
He said: "I'm from Nainital and I think that small town sentiments are different from big cities. Like romance - the whole mathematics of romance is so beautiful in a place like Nainital - and I try to weave that in my songs."
Quite unhappy with current trends in film music, he said it is important that people should know the name of the songwriters.
He explained: "I think songwriters are not getting their due apart from the likes of Javed Akhtar and Gulzar. FM channels, radio and TV are popularising songs without mentioning the name of the songwriters.
"This was not the case earlier. In the past one could identify the lyricist by hearing the song once and that's how those songwriters became so famous.
"I really take offence that the songwriters have been driven down from the film hierarchy. There is a lot of mediocrity taking place in Mumbai."
He felt there was a dearth of good lyricists in Bollywood and outsiders were doing a better job.
"I definitely think there is a dearth of good songwriters in Bollywood. But a new trend has started in Bollywood. Outsiders are bringing about a change. I am a journalist, an outsider, living in Delhi but get calls from filmmakers in Bollywood.
"Prasun Joshi, an advertising guy, is doing a great job and is in demand."
Neelesh will next month tie the nuptial knot with NDTV news anchor Nidhi Razdan, about whom he has written a few songs.
He has also finished writing his first novel, which is a romantic comedy set in a call centre. Besides that he has two books to his credit - "End of The Line: The Story of the Killing of the Royals in Nepal" and "173 Hours In Captivity".
His new projects include Vidhu Vicky Chopra's "Fight Club" (Vicky is filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra's nephew) and Anurag Bose's "Gangster", a film about the loneliness of young people living in metropolitan cities.
Neelesh hopes to direct a film one day but would like to stick to his current job for now. "I would like to continue as a journalist. I want to be a story teller in whatever way possible."